By Olivia Cahoon
Large venues with high attendance rates like career fairs, weddings, and trade shows are an ideal opportunity to advertise brands, events, and products. To take advantage of this exposure, marketers seek customizable table covers for a professional look that draws people in. One solution, digitally printed table covers, are available in a variety of shapes and colors for a personalized display that stands out in crowds.
Founded in 1993, Totally Promotional started with fewer than six people in a downtown storefront in Celina, OH. The company operated as a print and copy center as well as a promotional products distributor. Today, it employs 200 from a 17,000 square foot office and 160,000 square foot building in Coldwater, OH. A product line of over 4,000 items is offered to companies, government agencies, individuals, organizations, schools, and universities across the U.S.
Totally Promotional offers personalized products like badge holders, bags, banners, banner stands, drinkware, folding chairs, lanyards, pens, stuffed animals, sunglasses, table covers, utensils, and wedding items. “These are commonly used by businesses and organizations for branding and promotional needs. We take pride in offering high-quality, professionally manufactured products at prices that are affordable for businesses of all sizes and personal use,” says Vanessa Schlater, consumer behavior, merchandising, Totally Promotional.
A Roland DGA Corporation VersaEXPRESS RF-640 is the workhorse in its production facility. With imaging up to 1,440 dpi, the VersaEXPRESS RF-640 prints at up to 64 inches in width at a maximum print speed of 521 square feet per hour. The printer supports coated and uncoated media and features a built-in two stage integrated heating system to dry prints quickly. According to Schlater, Totally Promotional chose the VersaEXPRESS RF-640 because it produces a high-quality print that works best for the company’s needs.
In 2009, the print provider began using Sensient Imaging Technologies inks in the device, running a transfer dye-sublimation (dye-sub) process. The ink offers the best coverage for Totally Promotional’s product offerings. This combination of ink and print process was chosen over common heat transfer vinyl methods. “Heat transfer vinyl is a popular option for other printers because it is affordable to produce, but the imprints can peel, crack, and fade over time,” explains Schlater.
SpectraJet sublimation paper is the company’s transfer paper of choice. SpectraJet’s SilverBack3 is a humidity stable, high release paper compatible with most printers. It can be printed with all commercial grade sublimation dyes and is available up to 126 inches wide. For software, the company uses ErgoSoft PosterPrint RIP. PosterPrint offers an industrial-level solution to produce high-quality dye-sub prints. It’s suited for large and grand format printers and offers several features to maintain accurate color reproduction.
Customized Table Covers
When the company started in 1993, it operated as a third party that sold custom table covers printed by an outside vendor. As time went by, Totally Promotional realized the increased demand for digitally printed table cloths and invested in the technology. In 2009, the company began printing and sewing table covers in its facility.
According to Schlater, one of the main benefits of offering dye-sub table covers is that it allows the company to stand out amongst its competitors. With digital print capabilities, Totally Promotional prints entire table covers, exceeding the average 50×12-inch size. “Our colors are more vibrant and our customers can choose from an unlimited number of colors to match their brand,” she offers.
Totally Promotional’s table covers are made with 300 Denier Polyester from Top Value Fabrics. It is a lightweight flexible material with a 0.8 ounce clear polyurethane back coating and water repellent finish.
Table covers are offered up to eight feet and include table runners, trade show packages, demonstration covers, and bar and counter height covers. Options include printed on three sides, full color, form-fitted stretch, liquid repellent, fitted, and rounded. Each order includes a Totally Table Cover drawstring bag for safe storage.
15 percent of Totally Promotional’s work is digitally printed table covers. The company receives orders from a variety of industries and customers, however, Schlater says this product is most popular with companies and organizations attending trade shows and career fairs. Displayed on the table cover, a customized name and logo greets visitors and attracts attendees to view company flyers, business cards, and samples.
“Our table cloths and covers are often used as branding tools with some type of display,” shares Schlater. The customer base spans from small wedding DJs to large organizations like the Make A Wish Foundation and Harley Davidson Motor Company. Table covers and runners are also used for business expos, fairs, food stands, hotel events, hosted parties, registration tables, school events, sports events, and weddings.
To keep printed table covers clean, Totally Promotional suggests handwashing or machine washing covers separately on a gentle cycle in cold water. Dry cleaning should be avoided to prevent ink removal. The company also offers a blog that instructs clients how to care for their table covers. The blog includes directions for folding them so they remain wrinkle free for each marketing event.
When the company first began to offer digitally printed table covers in house, it experienced challenges associated with dye-sub. “It involves several steps, which can increase the chance of problems arising,” explains Schlater. Common challenges include banding, moisture, ghosting, and visible transfer lines.
Since then, the company has streamlined its process to maximize efficiency and create high-quality products at low costs. “It was slow in the beginning, but we are now able to produce far more products than we ever imagined possible,” she adds.
Recently, most of Totally Promotional’s customers are interested in custom table covers for trade shows and expos. Additionally, Schlater says she notices a trend in the increased use of table runners. “Table runners can help companies stay within a lower budget while retaining a professional appearance consistent with their brand,” she continues.
Printed and Personalized
In May 2017, first time customer Go Ye Employment Services in Fort Smith, AR approached Totally Promotional for a table runner. Go Ye is a family owned and operated staffing firm that promotes its business at trade shows, local universities, and with community outreach programs.
The client requested a table runner to promote its brand during marketing events. According to Schlater, Go Ye’s goals were to create a different and unique table cover that would draw attention to its name.
The client supplied the artwork, which was printed on SpectraJet sublimation paper and transferred to polyester fabric from Top Value Fabrics. The graphics were printed on the Roland VersaEXPRESS RF-640 using Sensient ink. “The full-color imprint option gave depth and detail to each color and design in the company’s logo,” says Schlater. She believes the premium polyester material’s smooth texture provided a long-lasting professional look.
Totally Promotional used ErgoSoft PosterPrint RIP and hand-cut the table runner with pre-made templates. The company serged the table runner’s edges to prevent fraying for long-term use. Final measurements were 60×72 inches. It took just over 15 days from job submittal to delivery. “This client’s vibrant artwork lets this project stand out. This design takes full advantage of the capabilities of dye-sub,” concludes Schlater.
Digitally printed table covers and runners offer a professional appearance for a variety of events from trade shows to weddings and food stands. Dye-sub printers allow print providers to offer customers personalized table covers that promote brands and products. Digitally printed table covers and runners are available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit all marketing efforts.
Dec2017, Digital Output